Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A is a sidestory manga arc that follows a girl named Shizuno Takakama, an old friend of Nodoka’s, who used to be in Achiga Girls Academy’s mahjong club together. A few years after the club disbanded and the two split up, Shizuno spots Nodoka on television as she makes her stride in mahjong. Wanting to see her old friend again, Shizuno decides to revive the Achiga Mahjong Club so that she can face Nodoka in the inter-high national championships.
Just like that original Saki this sidestory suffers from the worst pacing I’ve ever seen in a long time, i have not read the manga for this sidestory so i can not say if it’s the same or not but they could have either put in more content and story or shortened the episodes quite a bit in my opinion. As i said earlier Saki: Achiga-hen is a sidestory from the original series which i have noticed many people have not seen or realized this, i myself found out by accident before is started to watch it but before i did i thought it was a second season that was coming around, for those who do not know this it will cause a lot of confusion to any newcomers into the show as there are several characters here from the original series that it feels you are expected to know about as the series glosses over the details of Saki to the point that it gets pretty confusing trying to keep everything straight. If you come into this expecting to get more “Mahjong” out of it do not hold your breath, sure there is mahjong but they go trough the matches really really fast. I had a look at the timestamps for one of the very first tournaments matches they had and it was over in one minute and forty-three seconds.few irrelevant parts inbetween that didn’t even show any mahjong. So if you expect a lot of Mahjong like you got in Saki you will get a bit disappointed i believe.
The characters are not so good either in my opinion, they feels like robots right out of the factoryline, sure they are energetic and some show that more then other but there is not individuality to be seen anywhere and there was not much and nearly no character development done to try and show some individuality or character growth. Another thing you may have noticed if you watched the original Saki is that they like to make a lot of sexual jokes about the boobs of other girls, the same thing happens here. If a joke is made about someones boobs the girls in questions always gets embarrassed about the joke which makes a stereotypical routine instead of any character-interaction.
For any Saki fans watching this wanting to se more Mahjong i believe they will not like it because there is so little in the show and because it is rolling at such a slow pace. As i said i have not read the manga but i would believe that you will get more enjoyment out of Achiga-hen by reading it rather then watching this slow paced show.